Time Machine

20. Januar 2015

Yes­ter­day such a litt­le thing my life hung that on often mar­vel that I escaped so easi­ly. Had not the rif­le of the lea­der of the par­ty swung from its fas­tenings bes­i­de his sadd­le in such a way as to strike against the butt of his gre­at metal-shod spear I should have snuf­fed out wit­hout ever kno­wing that death was near me. But the litt­le sound cau­sed me to turn, and the­re upon me, not ten feet from my breast, was the point of that huge spear, a spear for­ty feet long, tip­ped with gle­a­ming metal, and held low at the side of a moun­ted repli­ca of the litt­le devils I had been watching.

But how puny and harm­less they now loo­ked bes­i­de this huge and ter­ri­fic incar­na­ti­on of hate, of ven­ge­an­ce and of death. The man hims­elf, for such I may call him, was ful­ly fif­teen feet in height and, on Earth, would have weig­hed some four hundred pounds. He sat his mount as we sit a hor­se, gras­ping the animal’s bar­rel with his lower lim­bs, while the hands of his two right arms held his immense spear low at the side of his mount; his two left arms were outstret­ched late­ral­ly to help pre­ser­ve his balan­ce, the thing he rode having neither bridle or reins of any descrip­ti­on for guidance.

And his mount! How can earth­ly words descri­be it! It towe­red ten feet at the should­er; had four legs on eit­her side; a broad flat tail, lar­ger at the tip than at the root, and which it held straight out behind while run­ning; a gaping mouth which split its head from its snout to its long, mas­si­ve neck.

Like its mas­ter, it was enti­re­ly devo­id of hair, but was of a dark sla­te color and excee­ding smooth and glos­sy. Its bel­ly was white, and its legs shaded from the sla­te of its should­ers and hips to a vivid yel­low at the feet. The feet them­sel­ves were hea­vi­ly pad­ded and nail­less, which fact had also con­tri­bu­ted to the noi­se­l­ess­ness of their approach, and, in com­mon with a mul­ti­pli­ci­ty of legs, is a cha­rac­te­ristic fea­ture of the fau­na of Mars. The hig­hest type of man and one other ani­mal, the only mammal exis­ting on Mars, alo­ne have well-for­med nails, and the­re are abso­lut­e­ly no hoo­fed animals

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